It occurs to me that ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ is guilty this season of the exact same stunt that ‘The Walking Dead’ just pulled – deliberately delaying the resolution to a cliffhanger with an extended flashback episode to an unrelated storyline. This one, however, was much less frustrating.
Two weeks ago, Andrew Garner (Blair Underwood) was attacked by HYDRA agents in a convenience store, and we were left with the implication that he’d been killed, though his body was never clearly shown. That was followed last week with no mention of that storyline at all. Instead, the entire episode focused on the time Jemma spent on an alien planet.
The difference between this and ‘The Walking Dead’ is that Andrew is a fairly minor character on ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ and his death wouldn’t greatly affect the dynamic of the show, whereas Glenn and Rick are principle leads on ‘The Walking Dead’. Fans of that show are much more invested in finding out if those two beloved characters live or die. Stalling for a week or more before providing the answer to their fates feels like a major dick move on the writers’ part.
Anyway, episode ‘Among Us Hide…’ opens with the revelation that Andrew has survived. As he’s wheeled into a hospital bruised and bloodied, we’re told that he was saved by a S.H.I.E.L.D. bodyguard who took out two of the HYDRA thugs before being killed himself. Andrew barely crawled out of the store before it blew up. While that’s sort of a deus-ex-machina plot twist, it’s not too difficult to swallow.
May is pissed at Lance. She blames him for almost getting Andrew killed. As much as Lance insists that he did the right thing, Coulson takes him off the assignment anyway.
May next charges into a training room and picks a fight with Bobbi, claiming that Lance recklessly went after Ward for her benefit. They tussle for a moment until May reveals that this was just a test to see if Bobbi was back in fighting shape yet. Even though Bobbi hasn’t been cleared for field duty, May asks her to come along as they track down Ward. To do that, first they have to find Werner von Strucker.
Ward has much the same idea, and sends his right-hand man Kebo to find von Strucker as well. It seems that Werner has gone into hiding after failing his mission and has run to Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe) for protection. Malick was an old-guard HYDRA bigwig (seen previously in ‘The Avengers’ as a mole in the World Security Council who ordered Nick Fury to nuke New York) and he’s clearly an intimidating presence.
With the knowledge that the monster known as Lash can morph into a human form, Daisy thinks that he may be a member of the ATCU. That would explain how he has seemingly possessed insider knowledge about where Inhumans would be. Coulson has arranged to take a tour of the ATCU facility with Rosalind Price. He says he’ll keep his eyes open. Daisy and Mack, meanwhile, believe that Rosalind’s toady Banks is the most likely suspect and decide to do some unauthorized surveillance on him. Lance asks to tag along.
En route to the ATCU facility, Rosalind and Coulson get sidetracked with news of a break-in at Rosalind’s home. She asks to reschedule the tour, but Coulson insists on staying with her. When he notices that nothing of value appears to have been stolen, Coulson surmises that the whole event has been a distraction to keep him away from the ATCU building. After he calls her on this, Rosalind agrees to take him there after all.
While spying on Banks, Lance goes rogue and ices the man, then brings him back to the S.H.I.E.L.D. van so Daisy can take a blood sample and test it for markers to determine if he’s an Inhuman. After going through his things and finding that he was scheduled to go to someplace called Endotex Labs, they leave Banks propped up in his car and head there first. Later, Simmons calls with the blood test results: Banks is not an Inhuman and couldn’t be Lash. There goes that theory.
At the Endotex Labs building, Daisy launches an invisible spy drone she borrowed from Fitz. She finds the ATCU putting Inhuman captives into an induced-coma stasis and storing them away in small cubes. She also spots Coulson in the building talking to Rosalind. He doesn’t seem nearly as upset by this as Daisy is.
Daisy can’t hear what they’re talking about, though. Coulson does ask Rosalind why she would do this to the Inhumans. She explains that she’s working on a “cure” for their conditions. She equates this to her husband who died of cancer, and how she wishes she could have done the same for him. Coulson appears to be ambivalent about whether curing Inhumanism be a good thing or a bad thing.
Malick calls Ward to tell him that he has von Strucker and is willing to sacrifice him. By the time May and Bobbi track Werner to Lisbon, they find Kebo torturing the boy. Whether she’s really ready for it or not, Bobbi needs to prove herself in action by fighting off the HYDRA goons. She has a tough time of it, but eventually electrocutes Kebo in a swimming pool. May questions the half-dead Werner, who tells her what really happened in the convenience store. While a S.H.I.E.L.D. bodyguard was involved like Andrew said, it was Andrew himself who hulked out into a giant monster and killed the other HYDRA agents. Yes, Andrew is Lash. This would explain why we saw Werner running out of the store scared. May doesn’t want to believe him.
Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters after all their missions are wrapped up, Daisy has a call with Lincoln, who’s still in hiding. Andrew overhears part of the conversation and creepily asks Daisy where Lincoln is and whether she can convince him to come in… for his protection, of course.
This is a pretty busy episode. I haven’t even mentioned about how Fitz is having trouble calculating a way to rescue Jemma’s boyfriend from the alien planet – or a pretty funny scene where May and Bobbi get caught breaking into safety deposit boxes at a bank and pretend to be security experts testing the bank’s response time. The episode balances all these storylines well. It has a couple of decent action scenes and a smidge of humor.
I like the addition to Powers Boothe as a villain. (Can he ever play any other type of character?) I’m a little less sold on the plot twist that Andrew is Lash, but I’ll give the show enough benefit of the doubt to wait and see how that plays out.